Vitiligo is a type of skin disorder that causes patches of discolored skin to form. These look like discolored blotches on various parts of the body. This skin disorder even affects the eyes, inside of the mouth and the hair too.
Melanin is the substance which gives the natural color to our eye, hair and skin. The larger the amount of melanin produced in the body, the darker is the skin tone of the person. Vitiligo develops in case the melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) malfunction or die altogether.
Vitiligo affects people of all skin tones but it is most noticeable in people with a darker skin tone. Although this condition is not contagious or harmful otherwise, it is still a source of great stress for the person affected due to the unattractive blotches seen on the visible skin (face, neck, hands, shoulders, etc).
Vitiligo treatment helps to improve the appearance of the skin however it is not effective in treating it. Complete removal of vitiligo might require more extensive and surgical methods.
Signs and symptoms of Vitiligo
Vitiligo is mostly seen as loss of pigmentation in the form of lighter-colored blotches on the skin. Mostly, the discoloration of the skin is noticed in the more exposed parts of the skin, such as the lips, face, arms, feet and hands, which are also essentially, exposed more to the sun.
The normal signs and symptoms of vitiligo are:
- Discolored patches of skin
- Premature graying/whitening of hair on head, eyebrows, eyelashes or facial hair
- Loss of color in the inner tissue linings of the mouth and nose
- Loss/change in color of retina
- Discolored blotchy skin around the rectum, genitals, navel and armpits
Vitiligo is seen developing at almost any age, but is most common in people above the age of 20 years.
Causes of Vitiligo
Vitiligo develops when the melanocytes stop production of melanin due to any reason. This lack of melanin results in the development of lighter-colored skin patches. Although the exact cause for the malfunctioning of the melanocytes is still under study, it is suspected to be related to an immune system disorder, genetics (family history) or a trigger.
There are various different types of treatments available for vitiligo, which are aimed at making the affected skin tone more similar to the surrounding natural skin tone. However results may vary from patient to patient.
In case the signs of vitiligo are more noticeable and severe in nature then the doctor might suggest any one, or a combination, or the various treatment methods of vitiligo, such as:
Although, there are no medicines that can help you to stop the death of melanocytes, there are various medicinal drugs that are aimed at improving the appearance of the affected skin, such as:
- Topical corticosteroids – These are special skin creams or ointments that are aimed at helping to re-pigment the affected skin patches. These are mostly effective when administered considerable earlier on after the development of this skin disorder is diagnosed. Results are seen normally within the first few months.
- Vitamin D derivatives – These creams are used in combination with UV-light therapy or corticosteroids to be more effective.
- Immune System Inhibitors – These are most helpful in treating smaller affected areas of skin, especially of the face and neck.
- Medications and Light therapy combination – Photo-chemotherapy and certain medicinal drugs are used in this treatment form for vitiligo. This is one of the most effective treatments for skin discoloration due to vitiligo.
These are certain physical therapies that are often combined with medicinal treatment to improve the effectiveness and success-rate of the treatment, these are:
- Light therapy – This is an innovative treatment method for vitiligo. It requires using narrow-band Ultraviolet-B light.
- Laser therapy – This is one of the latest treatment methods for vitiligo. It requires using a powerful and precise thin beam of laser light in order to peel off the damaged layers of the skin one by one, till the affected skin is completely removed. This allows the healthy normal skin to grow again and cover the affected area of the skin.
- De-Pigmentation – This is one of the most useful treatment methods in case the vitiligo is widespread and covers major part of the skin. It is prescribed in case the other treatment methods have failed to successfully remove the signs of vitiligo. This is simply by covering the surrounding healthy skin with a solution (monobenzone) in order to match the skin tone with the darker skin tone of the affected skin.
In case these various vitiligo treatment methods also fail to address your problem, then the doctor might suggest one of the few surgical treatments for vitiligo. A majority of vitiligo cases are treated successfully with the use of non-surgical treatment methods every year worldwide.
It is advisable to seek consultation with a highly-experienced and well-trained dermatologist if you wish to get the most successful and effective vitiligo treatment at the most affordable cost in Delhi, India.